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The fight against procrastination

edited October 2005 in - Writing Tales


  • Help! I'm struggling to submit my correspondance course writing assignments as regularly as i'd like without the automated discipline and deadline of a weekly class to go to. Any ideas on how to combat this? (there were no CW classes local to me)
  • I have exactly the same problem. I've not submitted anything to my WN correspondence course for a few months, now. Gah!!

    I had split up with my girlfriend, during that time. It's no excuse, I know, but I had no desire to write anything, at all -- never-mind a short story about a sixteen year old girl called Karen who can't get a job...

    I need to get back into the writing habit.

  • Procrastination is the writer's enemy and we all submit to it I'm afraid.  I keep telling everyone that the hardest part of writing is getting your bum on the chair in the first place.  Invest in a tube of Superglue - a dab on the chair and a dab on the pants!
  • Serious writers have to write regularly to keep up the flow.  Buy a diary or calender and write down writing times on certain days, then stick to it. Think of an editor as your boss who expects your work on time or you are out of a job. Or else, just sit with a glass of wine and imagine you are telling a friend what you are trying to write. These things have worked for me and might for you.
  • Only one in twenty finish a correspondence course? That's actually quite shocking! I don't don't want to be labled as "one of the nineteen".

    I've also started getting a reputation for not finishing my homeworks for my writer's group, as well...

    Actually, this discussion has fired me up a little. I was looking at my assignment and changing an idea or two has brought new life into the story. I've almost finished the first draft now.

    Lets hope I finish this one.

    The idea about the calendar sounds like a good one. Especially if I set myself deadlines with it, as well.

  • Dorothy/d and sal, thanks, I find your comments helpful.  But Betsie, I'm afraid I've tried yours and the result was a slight chafe what.
  • Well Done Juzza getting your assignment done.  Just one small tip that keeps me going. Once the assignment is over, start another one or a different idea before you begin revising.  Its amazing what springs to mind.
  • Hi Maz,

    I'm also doing a correspondence course and find myself not submitting as many assignments as I'd like to. I tend to motivate myself by reading up on other authors profiles, and it makes me think that if I want to be like them (writing full-time at home etc), then I need to submit these assignments and make progress. I also keep my own diary and write my thoughts in there. I find that helps. Especially when I read back sometimes, and realise that I'd been writing the same thing a few months ago. That normally makes me think 'I better get writing!'
  • This business of keeping up with writing course assignments has cropped up on these boards before. My own record might provide encouragement to anyone who feels they must be near the bottom of the class.

    I began the Writers Bureau course in 2002 and completed two assignments that year. In 2003 I did nothing.  In 2004 I went like a wild thing and completed assignments 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7. So far this year I have submitted nothing - but have done some preparation for assignment 8. Clearly I'm not so much  'fighting against procrastination' as luxuriating in it.

    Although I have no particular wish to be one of Dorothy/d's drop-outs, I'm not surprised at the figure. It reminds me of those evening classes which start in the autumn with a room full of enthusiasts and end up in April or May with a handful of stalwarts or closed down altogether.
  • Time for the glue Neil!
  • Well I have no problem about getting bum on seat.  But once it is parked that is when the fun begins.  What do I do?  Where do I start?  Going in and out of discussion groups is just one wonderful way of avoiding the target not to mention reading those articles on writing that clutter my computer files.  I even enjoy critiquing others' stories and poems.  But gradually these activities lead me to open that important file that begs for attention.  And even if on a particular day I just rearrange a file or two or read through yesterday's input without actually doing any writing I still feel in touch with my project because all the other activities are part of my writing life.

    Juzza, WN courses usually come with a two-year limit so you need to divide the months by the number of assignments.  That's how I completed my last course and even then I was a month overdue but they didn't notice!!

    Maz, if your course doesn't have a time limit then set your own.  Post it here on Talkback with details about submitting etc. and I'm sure one of us will be on your tail to give you a rollicking should you default!  I think the secret is to just get bum on seat.  When it's safely there then you can fiddle around with computer, notepad, WN magazine, reading assignment notes or a how-to book, whatever!  Before long you might just find yourself taking a peek at your assignment and following up an idea that has occurred to you whilst frittering your time.  This is turning frittering into productivity.  Ciao from Rita.
  • Thanks for all your tips! :)

  • Well this has surely helped, thank you all!

    Dorothy D & Sal - you've really helped me put this writing thing into the proper perspective!

    Neil, exactly my course and exactly my prob! - But you know what? I'm on assignment 3 and i started from February 05 and I'm gonna set my target to get to your assignment 8 before the end of the year. Keep tabs on me okay?

    Thanks again, peeps!

  • Hey, Maz. We haven't heard from you lately. How's your course coming along? Are you still submitting those assignments?
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